Although your oral health will always be our number one priority, you might also be interested in changing the appearance of your smile. Once your dentist gives you the okay to go ahead, our dental clinics can guide you through the whitening process while keeping your oral health at the forefront of your treatment plan.
Please be aware that teeth whitening is not generally covered by most plans. Feel free to give Bupa a call on 134 135 to find out what’s available on your cover.
On this page
- What causes discoloured teeth?
- Should I whiten my teeth?
- Preventing stains or discolouration
- Teeth whitening treatments
What causes discoloured teeth?
“Discoloured” isn’t always the right word, as it’s normal for teeth to be slightly off-white. Your teeth can become darker or more yellow for a variety of reasons. For instance, age is a factor – as you get older, it’s common for your teeth to become less white.
Cigarettes, coffee, tea, red wine or fizzy drinks can cause staining. Even nutritious favourites like dark berries can affect the whiteness of your teeth. If you’re drinking a beverage that might stain your teeth, try sipping it from a straw in order to minimise the amount of contact the liquid has with your teeth.
Should I whiten my teeth?
As with most dental procedures, the best way to answer this question is to consult your dentist.
Your dentist can help you pinpoint the cause behind any discolouration and whether your teeth and gums are in a condition to handle whitening treatment. If the colour of your teeth is caused by oral health issues like decay, your dentist will need to address these first. Whitening treatment isn’t an appropriate solution for all types of discolouration, and it can aggravate oral health problems.
You’ll also want to confirm if teeth whitening will be an effective option for your individual smile. For instance, crowns and veneers won’t bleach the same way as natural teeth, so it’s important to confirm an appropriate plan with your dentist.
Preventing stains or discolouration
It’s possible to prevent stains or discolouration without undergoing whitening treatment.
For a start, try to cut down (or avoid completely) red wine, tea, coffee and other staining beverages. A good oral hygiene routine with brushing and flossing can also make a difference, as well as drinking plenty of water.
Teeth whitening treatments
If you’re considering teeth whitening, be aware that there are several different forms of treatment.
In-chair treatment refers to teeth whitening that happens at a dental clinic, usually in a single visit. Your dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums and use a hydrogen peroxide solution on your teeth. They may use a special light on your teeth, helping to lift stains from each tooth’s surface.
Your dentist might recommend an at-home option. They’ll create a mould of your teeth while you're in the office, which you then take home. Once at home, you apply a special whitening gel to the mould then place it over your teeth for the amount of time your dentist has prescribed. This option can be a gentler, more gradual process and typically suits those with milder discolouration or those who prefer the privacy of their home for treatment.
While there are a lot of over-the-counter whitening options, the Australian Dental Association recommends consulting a qualified professional before undergoing any whitening treatment. If you’d like to use an over-the-counter option, be sure to talk to your dentist – they can advise whether the option will be safe and/or effective.
Regardless of the type of whitening treatment you undergo, it’s possible that you’ll need future touch-ups. No whitening solution is permanent, so your dentist might recommend annual visits to maintain your desired shade of white.
Australian Dental Association (n.d.). “What can go wrong.” http://www.toothwhiteningfacts.com.au/What-can-go-wrong.html